List of Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

With the inclusion of Mahendragiri Hill into the Biodiversity Heritage Sites of India, the number scaled to 36. The site is situated in Odisha and was included in the list in 2022. India is a country with rich biodiversity and cultural heritage, and the country is home to a variety of fauna and flora and has several unique ecosystems. Under the Biological Diversity Act, 2022, Section-37, the state governments can declare any important biodiversity area as Biodiversity Heritage Site (BHS).

The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forest, Government of India, identified specific areas in the country as Biodiversity Heritage Sites. The designation of BHS is made to improve local communities quality of life by preserving such sites. In this article, we have discussed the Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India and their importance.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites

Biodiversity Heritage Sites are geographically different locations with unique, ecologically sensitive ecosystems. These ecosystems include marine, terrestrial, coastal, inland, and inland water habitats. Other than those restrictions voluntarily chosen by the local communities, establishing Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India should not limit standard practices.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites are areas with significant biodiversity and cultural importance. Identifying and protecting these sites is to conserve the country’s unique biodiversity and cultural heritage. The sites are distinctive ecosystems with abundant biodiversity made up of one or more elements:

  • The abundance of domesticated and wild species, intra-specific subcategories, and elevated endemism.
  • Existence of endangered species, keystone species, and rare or important evolution species.
  • Domesticated or cultivated species’ wild ancestors or subspecies.
  • With or without a long history of human association, the past dominance of biological elements represented by fossil beds with significant ethical, cultural, or aesthetic values is crucial for cultural diversity preservation.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites UPSC

Sites that are well-defined, ecologically sensitive, and have a great diversity of wild and domesticated species are considered biodiversity heritage sites. The State governments are responsible for declaring and maintaining the Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India.

The topic is included in the static GK for the UPSC exam. Aspirants preparing for the exam must consist of the topics in their essential topics list, as they can get one question from the Biodiversity Heritage Sites. The importance of Biodiversity Heritage Sites in the UPSC can be understood from the following points:

  • There may be one question from the topic in Prelims GS-1.
  • One question is to match the following of BHS with the State.
  • Aspirants can use the information in writing the answer for Paper 1 Ecology section.
  • Biodiversity Heritage Sites are an important topic in the Geography paper of UPSC Mains.

First Biodiversity Heritage Site in India

The Karnataka government declared India’s 1st Biodiversity Heritage Site, i.e., Nallur Tamarind Grove in Bengaluru 2007. According to common belief, it is a remnant of the almost 800-year-old Chola Dynasty. Both beautiful and terrifying, it is a sight to behold.

This 54 acres Biodiversity Heritage Site, which has a variety of about 300 trees, is a remarkable example of the active pattern of diversity. Ancient plants firmly planted to the ground with their enormous roots and massive, picturesque crowns extended extremely far and upwards like open wings make up this well-known structure’s most notable feature.

Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India

There are 36 Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India. Most of these sites are in Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Tripura, which are under the control of the state government for conservation. Check all the Biological Diversity Heritage Sites in the table below:

Biodiversity Heritage Site State Year of Notification
Nallur Tamarind Grove Karnataka 2006
Chikmagalur Karnataka 2007
University of Agricultural Sciences, GKVK Campus, Bengaluru Karnataka 2009
Ambaraguda Karnataka 2011
Glory of Allapalli Maharashtra 2014
Tonglu BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division West Bengal 2015
Dhotrey BHS under the Darjeeling Forest Division West Bengal 2015
Dialong Village Manipur 2017
Ameenpur lake Telangana 2016
Majuli Assam 2017
Ghariyal Rehabilitation Centre Uttar Pradesh 2016
Chilkigarh Kanak Durga West Bengal 2018
Khlaw Kur Syiem KmieIng Meghalaya 2018
Mandasaru Odisha 2019
Purvatali Rai Goa 2019
Naro Hills Madhya Pradesh 2019
Patalkot Madhya Pradesh 2019
Asramam Kerala 2019
Bambarde Myristica Swamps Maharashtra 2021
Ganeshkhind Garden Maharashtra 2020
Landorkhori Maharashtra 2020
Schistura Hiranyakeshi Maharashtra 2021
Baneswar Shiva Dighi West Bengal 2020
Sacred Grove at Sural Bhatori Monastery Himachal Pradesh 2022
High Altitude Meadow Himachal Pradesh 2022
Birch-pine Forest Patch Himachal Pradesh 2022
Baramura waterfall Tripura 2022
Unakoti Tripura 2022
Silachari Caves Tripura 2022
Debbari or Chabimura Tripura 2022
Betlingshib and its surroundings Tripura 2022
Amarkantak Madhya Pradesh 2022
Hajong Tortoise Lake Assam 2022
Borjuli Wild Rice Site Assam 2022
Arittapatti Biodiversity Heritage Site Tamil Nadu 2022
Mahendragiri Hill Odisha 2022

Important Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India

Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam must include these important biological diversity heritage sites in their UPSC study notes to get an edge over the competitors. The important sites are:

  • Amarkantak Biodiversity Heritage Site: It is situated in the Maikal mountain range, which links the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges in Madhya Pradesh. It is 1067 meters above sea level. It has an ecosystem of 6 Million years old flora and fauna, including rare Pteridophytes and Bryophytes.
  • Ameenpur Lake Biological diversity Heritage Site: Ameenpur is a tiny lake on the outskirts of Hyderabad in the Telangana state of India’s Sangareddy District. It is India’s first body of water approved in the urban area as a Biodiversity Heritage Site.
  • Amboli Biodiversity Heritage Site: At Mahadev Temple pond at Amboli in Sindhudurg district, the Schisture hiranyakeshi fish was first spotted. The ‘Shistura Hiranyakeshi Biological Heritage Site’ was declared the 5th BHS of Maharashtra in April 2021, also known as Amboli BHS.
  • Mahendragiri Hill Biodiversity Heritage Site: The hills have the rich floral diversity of Odisha. More the 1358 species of plants are found in the hills ecosystem. Many sacred temples of Kunti, Arjuna, Shima, and Yudhisthir are on the hills. These are already declared ancient monuments of the state. The ecosystem of hills is economically, biologically, and archaeologically important.

Characteristics of Biodiversity Heritage Sites of India

Protecting Biodiversity Heritage Sites in India also helps preserve the local communities’ traditional knowledge and cultural practices. These are crucial for conserving India’s unique biodiversity and cultural heritage. These sites provide habitat for several endangered and rare plant and animal species, essential for maintaining ecological balance. The important characteristics of places to be fulfilled by biodiversity heritage sites in India to get into the list are:

  • Various living organisms are collectively housed in areas with a mosaic of artificial habitats, natural and semi-natural.
  • Places with a significant quantity of domesticated biodiversity present and representative agroecosystems where continuous agricultural practices sustain this diversity.
  • Wetlands and green spaces that provide refuge for native and threatened wildlife are present, even in very modest amounts.
  • Any lawful land use may be classified under private, public, or community land headings.
  • Places not covered by the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 can be included in the protected areas created by the amendment as much as possible.
  • Localities, where animals migrate seasonally, can find terrestrial or aquatic habitats for subsisting and laying their eggs.
  • Regions that are kept up as preservation plots by the research division of the Forest Department can become biodiversity heritage sites in India.
  • Zones for medicinal plant conservation.
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